MOOCs help business schools reach sought-after student demographics

June 5, 2014

A new report in the Harvard Business Review says that rather than "cannibalizing" business school enrolment, MOOCs offer an opportunity to attract new student demographics. The study of over 875,000 students in 9 MOOCs offered by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that MOOCs successfully reached three highly sought-after demographic groups: international students, foreign-born Americans, and underrepresented minorities. According to survey data, 78% of students who registered for an online business course came from outside the US, compared with 45% in full-time, 2-year MBA programs. 35% of students enrolled in the Wharton MOOCs identified themselves as foreign-born Americans, of whom 54% already had a graduate or professional degree. 19% of the students came from underrepresented minorities, compared to 11% in traditional MBA programs at 9 top US schools. However, the MOOCs fell short in attracting female students. Only 32% of MOOC attendees were female, compared with 40% of applicants to MBA programs. Harvard Business Review | Businessweek | Inside Higher Ed